Letters of Recommendation
Letter requirements can vary from school to school, so you want to make sure you know what each school you are applying to is asking for.
Here are some common requirements:
- 3-5 letters.
- At least one letter from a PhD level faculty member who has taught you in a natural science course. Many schools will ask for two of these letters so we would strongly recommend requesting two.
- At least one letter from a clinically based experience in the profession you are applying for.
- For anyone applying to a combined PhD program, a research letter is required. A research letter is recommended for other applicants who participated in research.
- Some DO medical schools may recommend a letter from a DO physician, but it is not often required.
- Some schools may recommend a faculty letter from a non-science course (humanities and/or social sciences). Please note the non-science letter does not need to be from a PhD level instructor.
- Other letters would depend on what other activities you participate in and could include areas like community service, athletics, leadership positions, and other professional positions. Consider who knows you best in an academic or professional capacity.
- Letters from family or close friends are strongly advised against.
Tips for Requesting Letters of Recommendation
- Give people a reasonable amount of time to write and submit. Three to four weeks would be a minimum. You don’t want your recommenders feeling pressured.
- Have a meeting with the individual. Give them a resume and even a draft of your personal statement. Make it easy for them to write a comprehensive letter.
- Follow up the request a few days later with a thank you note.
- If letters have not been submitted, please contact the recommender politely, but promptly alert them to any pending deadlines.
veCollect for Letter Submission
Letters submitted through veCollect can only be requested in the semester leading up to when you plan to apply. We are unable to collect early letters for you. Please keep in mind that it is preferred to have letters dated closer to when you plan to apply so it is not at all necessary to get letters early, and we would encourage you to have a conversation with your potential recommenders about your application timeline. Most are willing to write a letter and keep it on file until the time you will need it for your application. If you have a concern about this, please contact a Prehealth Advisor to discuss it further.
For previous Prehealth Committee reapplicants who are requesting an addendum, please also refer to the Prehealth Committee Reapplicants page. For your letters, you must accurately list your recommenders on your addendum application. Even if they are submitted to veCollect, if they are not listed on your application, they will not be included in your packet. If you need to make any changes to this list after your application submission, email Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org to assist you with the edits.
For new users of veCollect (who did not previously come through the Prehealth Committee) or previous veCollect account holders who did not complete the Prehealth Committee process, you must first come through our self-assessment process. Please see the self-assessment page for more details. Once that is complete, we will send you a link to pay the one-time fee of $40. Within a week of your fee payment, we will email you an access code so you can complete your account registration at the veCollect website by following the directions below.
- Click “Register for Access” in the upper right corner.
- Select NY for your state and continue.
- Select the University at Buffalo and continue.
- On the registration page, enter the authorization code and fill out your information, except the application identification numbers (we will request those from you later in the cycle on a separate release form). Submit your registration.
- Registrations are manually approved as quickly as possible, but please give us up to a week.
- Once you are approved and able to log in, there are instructional videos linked in orange and information that you should read.
- Please note that we will not use every functionality in veCollect as we are still handling certain aspects ourselves within the Prehealth Advising office.
For Prehealth Committee reapplicants, you can contact Amanda at email@example.com starting in January or anytime after to let us know of your intent to request a Committee addendum once that process opens later in the semester. We will send you a link to pay the $10 addendum fee. Within a week of your fee payment, you will either receive an authorization code if you have not previously used veCollect, or be notified that your previous account was reactivated. New users will go to the veCollect website to register an account by following the directions above.
STEP 1: Create Evaluators
- Once logged in, click on “My Evaluators” at the top.
- Click on “Create New Evaluator Record” on the top right or the bottom of the page.
- Enter the letter writer’s information and click on “Create Evaluator Record.”
- Repeat this process for each letter writer.
- Note: If you have had letters submitted to our office previously, please see the directions towards the bottom of this page regarding this scenario.
STEP 2: Create Letter Records for Evaluators
- Once you have entered your recommenders, click on “My Evaluators” at the top.
- You should see your list of recommenders.
- For each recommender, click on “Create New Letter Record.”
- Choose the type of professional school you are applying for from the drop down menu.
- Note: For those applying to MD schools, DO schools, or both, please choose “Medical School".
- Read the FERPA statement. Professional schools strongly prefer confidential letters so we advise that you request a confidential evaluation.
- Type your name in the signature box and click on the “Create Letter Record” button.
- Repeat for each evaluator.
STEP 3: Communicate with Your Evaluators - i.e., Send Your Letter Request
- Click on “My Evaluators.”
- You will see an envelope icon under each evaluator name.
- Click on the envelope icon. Confirm by clicking OK and an email will be automatically sent to the recommender with submission directions.
- Repeat for each evaluator.
- Note: If your evaluators indicate they have not received the email from veCollect, have them check their junk folder. You are also able to re-send the information at any point.
STEP 4: Tracking Your Letters
- Click on “My Evaluators.”
- If a letter has not been received yet, there will be a blank white box under that recommender’s name.
- If a letter has been received and uploaded, the box will contain the red Adobe symbol.
- Please note that it can take at least 3-5 business days after a letter has been received for it to be uploaded. A manual review of each letter is conducted by veCollect staff, which is the reason for the delay in upload. You may want to discuss this with your recommenders so they can be aware that they won't get an immediate response.
- Once the review is complete, the recommender will receive an email either letting them know it was accepted or letting them know that there is something in their letter that needs to be fixed. Let your recommenders know to look for this email, and that it's possible it can get sorted to their junk folder.
- If there is an extended delay in the upload, it may be that there is an issue with the letter and veCollect is communicating with the recommender to resolve it. Again, please encourage your recommenders to look for any communication from veCollect (and possibly check their spam/junk folders).
- veCollect can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 5: Create a Quiver
- To finalize which letters you want included in your packet, you will create a "quiver."
- Click on "My Quiver."
- Click on "Create New Quiver" on the right side of the page.
- In the Description box, please name it with your last name, "Letter Packet" and then the year. For example, Jane Doe applying in 2024 would name it Doe Letter Packet 2024.
- Select the letters you want included.
- Click the "Create New Quiver" button.
- The quiver can be edited until you lock it.
- Note: For med school applicants applying to both MD and DO, you only need one quiver. The same packet will be sent to both applications.
- Note: Prehealth Committee reapplicants should not do this step. Your final list will be in your addendum application.
Step 6: Process and Lock Your Quiver
- Only do this step once all your letters have been received and you are certain which letters you want included in your packet.
- Once you lock your quiver, you cannot unlock it or edit it.
- Click on "Process My Letters."
- Enter your name in the designated box.
- Click the "Process and Lock this Quiver" button.
- Note: Prehealth Committee reapplicants should not do this step.
Other Notes About veCollect
- We do not require you to list the schools you are applying to on the My Institutions tab.
- You do not need to input your applicant ID numbers in veCollect. We will ask for them later with your release form.
- See below for some special scenarios.
- Questions? Email Amanda at email@example.com.
What About Updates to Letters Previously Received by veCollect?
- If you had a letter sent to veCollect and then later want to request an updated version from your recommender, create a new evaluator record using all of their current contact information, but add the year after their last name.
- For example, if you already had a letter submitted to veCollect from Jane Doe and she is going to submit an updated version in 2024, create a new record under Jane Doe 2024.
What About Letters Prehealth Already Has from Before Fall 2022?
- For Prehealth Committee reapplicants who originally came through the Committee prior to Fall 2022, previously submitted letters won't be uploaded to veCollect. Please list them correctly on your addendum application, but you do not need to list them in veCollect.
- If you are a new veCollect user who had a letter submitted to our office under the old method prior to Fall 2022, please follow the directions below.
- Click on “Create New Evaluator Record.”
- Enter the letter writer’s name.
- Use the Prehealth office’s contact information.
- Address 1: 112 Capen
- City: Buffalo
- State: NY
- Postal code: 14260
- Evaluator Type: Other
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 716-645-6013